March 5 2015 Latest news:

With a catalogue of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide, Lynyrd Skynyrd remain American musical icons and here showed they still know how to rock as they approach the band’s 50th anniversary.

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The band epitomise southern rock – a mixture of blues-rock and country with a southern rebelliousness and attitude.

On the face of it, their formula is simple – songs about hard liquor, loose women and heartbreak, usually all three. And on this rare visit to the UK they were clearly having a ball.

They arrived fresh from picking up the Comeback Award at the Classic Rock Roll of Honour. Actually they reformed in 1987, a decade on from the plane crash that killed three band members, but it is recognition that the band seem to have found a second wind and are on a roll again.

Gary Rossington is the only remaining founder member, though vocalist Johnny Van Zant, whose brother Ronnie was killed in the plane crash, and guitarist Rickey Medlocke have been around for the last two decades.

Their latest album, Last of A Dying Breed, continues the tremendous legacy that began in the swamps outside Jacksonville.

New material played in a scintillating set didn’t sound out of place alongside timeless classics Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird.

As pioneers of southern rock that rose up in the 1970s, twisting the roots of rock’n’roll by putting country, rock and black music into a melting pot, they still have a unique sound.

Long may it continue. Yee-hah!

Simon Parkin

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